With World Animal Day coming up early next month, animal rights advocates yesterday called on the government to impose additional charges in the pet trade to safeguard animal welfare and announced a collective crawl — a literal one — to increase public awareness of the subject.
The eight-day collective crawl, which starts today, will be held in Taipei City and Taipei County, organizers said.
“When you crawl, you will know the fear and helplessness a dog feels when it is abandoned by its owner,” Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) said.
“We want to draw the attention of both domestic and international media to the reasons why Taiwan has failed to solve the problems created by stray cats and dogs after all these years,” Chen said.
The Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) came into force 12 years ago. Aside from the Taipei City Government, which has an Animal Protection Office, animal protection is mostly handled by the agriculture bureaus of local governments, Chen said.
A majority of local governments entrust cleaning squads from their environmental protection bureaus to catch stray animals and the process is often gory and cruel, she added.
Although he is physically disabled, Huang Tai-shan (黃泰山) said he would join the campaign and crawl alongside others.
Many dog breeders raise their dogs in filthy conditions, he said, adding that breeders either throw or give away dogs to shelters that are unable to breed anymore.
“They [breeders] reap the profits and leave the problem to society,” Huang said.
“It is taxpayers who end up having to deal with the problem, while the animals go through tremendous suffering. We therefore call on those who trade in pets to pay a special charge specifically meant to enhance animal welfare,” Huang added.
Turning to the importance of having an “animal protection police,” EAST executive director Chu Tseng-hong (朱增宏) said at present animal protection personnel did not have the power to arrest individuals who engage in animal cruelty or the authority to control traffic when an animal is involved in a car accident.
The Council of Agriculture said in a statement that whether there should be an animal protection police was up to local governments to decide.
The Taipei City Government is the only local government that has a specific administrative authority to protect animal rights, it said, adding that few local administrations had the finances to do so.
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